Other subjects of Security Service enquiries

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Other subjects of Security Service enquiries

Dennis Sefton Delmer (KV 2/2586)

This file concerning the activities of the Daily Express journalist (and briefly those of his father Frederik Sefton Delmer, who wrote for the Daily Mail during and after the First World War from or about Germany) is of general interest in tracing the Security Service's interest in the career of this notable figure. Sefton Delmer was interviewed regarding his investigations into the disappearance of Burgess and Maclean, and the file includes his offer of covert co-operation on the case between the Express and the Service, which the Service at once declined.

Christopher Isherwood (KV 2/2587)

Isherwood's file is similar in character to and closely related with that of W H Auden (see below) in as much as that both writers came to the attention of the Security Service in traces found in intercepted correspondence rather than as targets themselves, and that both were then investigated as possible contacts of Guy Burgess immediately before his disappearance. This file includes such details as William Skardon's interview with Gerald Hamilton in June 1951, where Burgess's friendships are analysed, or the interview with Peter Pollock (serial 28c), which states that Anthony Blunt was Burgess's "greatest friend". Hamilton has been presumed to be the model for the character of Mr Norris in Isherwood's Mr Norris Changes Trains.

W H Auden (KV 2/2588)

The Security Service file on poet W H Auden and his wife, Erika Mann-Auden (daughter of the German novelist Thomas Mann) starts in 1934. It initially consists principally of copies of intercepts of correspondence of third parties under Service surveillance, and discussion of the activities of Mrs Auden and her family before and during the Second World War. It is possible from these to establish some biographical details about the Audens at this time. In 1951, however, extensive investigations began into Auden's connections with Guy Burgess, after it was suggested that Burgess had tried to contact Auden at his holiday home in Ischia shortly before his disappearance. Evidence gathered at Burgess's flat included a note stating that Auden's younger brother had left messages for Burgess in 1946. Eventually it proved impossible to substantiate the suspicions that Burgess and Auden had met shortly before Burgess disappeared - but the possibilities are fully discussed on this file.